Jessica Hardy: Why We Shouldn’t Ghost Our Goals

If you’re a swimming fan or have watched any of the Olympics, you may have heard of Jessica Hardy. Jessica is an Olympic Bronze and Gold medalist, where she won the 4×100-metre freestyle and 4×100-metre freestyle medley respectively. She won a total of 28 medals, spanning over the Olympics, Pan Pacific, and World Championships, and has set the U.S and World Records. In 2015, Jessica released an autobiography and titled it; ‘Swimming Toward the Gold Lining: How Jessica Hardy turned her wounds into wisdom’. The book covers her journey from trials to triumph, wounds to wisdom and setbacks to comebacks. It inspires us not to ghost our goals when things get tough.

Hardy’s Story

Hardy’s career started well before the 2012 London Olympic Games. Jessica missed a spot on the 2004 Athens Olympic games by only just half a second. At just 16, she went on to swim a world record in 2005, breaking Liesel Jones’ record in the 100-metre breaststroke. Soon after, the medals started to come flying in. 


Photo by Marcus Ng on Unsplash


It was not long after, where Jessica would face her heartbreaking moment of not being able to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hardy unknowingly took a nutritional supplement that was contaminated with a banned substance and was forced to withdraw from the 2008 Olympics. She was cleared of suspicion when an arbitration committee ruled down that Jessica took the supplement unintentionally. The setback meant Jessica had a one-year suspension. After missing two Olympic games’, she could have lost focus on her goals but chose to continue to set her sights high and achieve her dream of competing in the Olympics. 

Jessica returned to competition in 2009 after her ban and immediately racked up three world records in her comeback swim meet. Those world records elevated her into Olympic contention, where she swam in the London 2012 Olympics, where she recorded a bronze and a gold medal. Following the Olympics, in 2015 at the World Championships in Spain, Hardy was announced Team Captain. She competed on fractured ribs, a shoulder tear and a micro-fracture in her left knee, and was able to compete in the 50m breaststroke, where she came fifth. 

While Hardy’s story is quite impressive, we all can relate when it comes to dealing with setbacks. Next time we’re tempted to give up, it’s important to understand our goals are within reach and we shouldn’t ‘ghost them’. 


Ghosting Our Goals


Ghosting our goals can be referred to as completely giving up on what we focused on and set out to do. Not only we would give up, we would ever return back. We often set really big goals for ourselves which combines the proficiency of multiple skill-sets, which can take years to master. This is often tied to some hope of external validation, where we consciously or subconsciously seek praise from others. We vow to work relentlessly to achieve our goals, but don’t examine what we need to do daily or practicing the habits required. The failure is there before it’s even begun.

No matter how goal orientated we are, we often see ourselves achieving something of ourselves that is unrealistic. For example, those people who say “I’m going to achieve this, no one can stop me!”. They often fail to realise that success is not because of the crazy, forceful hours they put on themselves. More importantly, the success comes from stepping back, removing distractions and steadily building habits to support their goal. 


Why We Ghost Our Goals: Reasons and Advice


Choosing Outcome over Skill. We love to fall in love with the idea of something. It’s natural human being behaviour. Whether it’s the thought of being famous or the thought of being a business owner. All these thoughts with no direction. Failure is assumed at the first road-block and we give up because the skill wasn’t the driving force of our goal, it was the reward at the end. 

Mistake Failure for Lessons. Failure should be nothing more than a lesson in disguise. Failure is often treated as a label, where if we give up on something; it’s “I’ve failed, so I’ll try something else”. Repeat behaviour causes us to miss opportunities in front of our eyes. To everyone succeeding, failure is a hard-earned lesson.  

Lack of Discipline. Most of the time, we give up on our goals because of a lack of discipline. Being unable to see something through to the end, even the smallest things. We haven’t cultivated the habits required to work on not just the inspiring days, but the days we feel uninspired. 

Lack of Belief. Mindset is everything. Without a positive frame of mind, we will fail.  If we lack belief within ourselves, we’ll find a way to give up. An average person, with average skills and a persistent mind, can achieve their goals. A talented individual with no self-belief cannot. 

My long-term goals are what I would consider to be my ‘dreams,’ and my short-term goals are obtainable on a daily or monthly basis. I like to make my short-term goals something that makes me feel better and sets me up to better prepare for the long-term goals” – Jessica Hardy


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